|Running, jumping, standing still,
Frank Sinatra is the tallest man I know.
Sitting down his feet go dragging through the clouds,
and anyway we heard him one night singing
"Fly Me to the
Moon" from the moon..
After that even though you call him Frank you
wonder if you'll ever earn the right to do so.
tall because he stoops to help and bends
to give, and because while going down his own
road he's always had the time cut the underbrush
for those who came along behind him.
Sometimes in turning he falls down
and hardly anybody picks him up but him.
He gets up always taller than he was a day ago.
Meeting him the first time out you know that he
could tear a wall down with his eyes. Later on
you learn he's much too busy building bridges
to think about destruction.
Still you're wary. Isn't this the man you've read about
who punches up the press and chews up shadows
like a jackhammer biting into streets? Be careful.
He smiles then. I don't know like who.
Like nobody ever did or will.
You go away that first time thinking maybe you don't want
to write songs anymore for anybody else but him.
Another time you meet and talk of trains
and Alec Wilder.
You drink a lot. In the early hours he stays listening to Respighi while you crawl home to
He worries you because he has so much (I don't
mean jet airplanes) and thinks he has so little.
What can you give a man who's given several worlds
of pleasure to as many people? The morning paper.
But wouldn't that deprive the doorman
of his daily honor?
How many Frank Sinatra's do I know? Another one
every day. The one whose gentleness to women
touches on the renaissance. I honestly believe
he's never met a woman yet he thought to be a tramp.
There's the family man concerned about his children.
Helping never pushing. (Good God, his son does not
make records for Reprise.) He's the father who waited
till his eldest made it on her own to sing a song with
her. The only man to make that laughing face
smile on consistently.
Tina's lost her luggage on her way to Bangkok,
and so he spends all Independence Day
calling airports round the world.
The fighter? Hmmm. Christ the public can be mean!
One night while on the town I saw him baited half a dozen times. He smiled and signed his
name. Nobody got a bloody nose or his picture in The Daily News.
But I for one would hate to see his eyes turn orange,
even if it is his favorite color. Still you get the feeling
that when in doubt he
beats up on himself.
Who else goes home to Hoboken and makes it back
to California two days and twenty million later.
So he is a businessman. (Remember that and you
Oscars number two, not one.)
Guts should be his middle name, not Albert.
I think that he invented guts inside and out.
Hearing him announce at fifty "September's quite a
time," you're well aware of generation gaps he's pulled together with his hands. Yet
something, maybe monkey
glands have kept him more than young at heart.
His mind's as new as
I have it. Jack Daniels must have pickled him circa nineteen-forty-three.
But why does he sing better every day? Why are there
new humble cycles and pride that boasts I did it My Way?
He did you know. We have every one of us doing it his way to prove it. He invented
singing, and every time
he sings he's giving lessons.
It comes to this. Whatever kind of man he is,
whoever made us made just one of him.
He digs Jilly more than diamonds, his country well enough
to be concerned that hate might take the place
of love one unsuspecting night. He prizes love
but wouldn't be caught dead admitting it aloud,
except in love songs. And he's a man you have to love.
I leave the reasons up to you. I've set down some of
those I have in the pages printed here and Sinatra
sings these songs with love. Almost as though
he owned them. I guess he does now, dammit.
He owns what he touches because he never leaves
a thing he comes in contact with unchanged. But as
any different drummer, Sinatra is a man alone.
Sometimes I think he laughs to keep from crying.
Forget it. I'm no Sigmund Freud. I know a few things only. Today I know a man hidden in
the California hills
spoiled for good because another man he loved gave new dimensions to his children. My
children are my songs
and those within this album all have brand new shoes.
- from "A Man Alone", 1969